Archive - February 2014

1
Review of Paradise in Front of Me by Kevin G. Finch (Honduras 2004-06)
2
Remarks of Carrie Hessler-Radelet Acting Director, Peace Corps "Honoring Peace Corps Week in the 21st Century" National Press Club, Washington, D.C.
3
A Writer Writes: My Philomena Story
4
Review 85 Days in Cuba by Branon Valentine (Jamaica 2000-04 & Panama 2006-09)
5
Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) Appearing at the Berkshire Festival of Woman Writers
6
Peace Corps Week Celebrates Volunteers' Contributions at Home and Abroad for Peace Corps' 53rd Anniversary
7
Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet To Speak at National Press Club
8
Fran Hopkins Irwin and Will Irwin publish The Early Years of Peace Corps in Afghanistan with Peace Corps Writers
9
Peace Corps Ukraine Volunteers Evacuated Safely
10
Talking With Frances Stone (Philippines 1971-73) author of Through the Eyes of My Children

Review of Paradise in Front of Me by Kevin G. Finch (Honduras 2004-06)

Paradise in Front of Me – Realizing Life’s Beauty in an Unexpected Place by Kevin G. Finch (Honduras 2004–06) Peace Corps Writers $$12.95 (paperback), $4.95 (Kindle) 240 pages 2014 Reviewed by Ben East (Malawi 1996–98) The recurring image in Kevin G. Finch’s Paradise in Front of Me is that of an impoverished Honduran child looking up at a locked schoolhouse door. Shut out again. The author and the residents of El Paraíso repeatedly find their plans scuttled: by naked madmen in San Juan, cancelled classes in Monte Cristo, failed transportation to Cuyalí, striking teachers, impassable rivers, traveling gringo evangelicals . . . there’s no end to the obstacles in this Honduran state near the border with Nicaragua. “The teachers are on strike,” Finch writes towards the end, “and another day is wasted in the future of Honduras.  The child blinks his eyes to bat away the drops of rain running down from . . .

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Remarks of Carrie Hessler-Radelet Acting Director, Peace Corps "Honoring Peace Corps Week in the 21st Century" National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

From The Peace Corps Press Office Remarks of Carrie Hessler-Radelet Acting Director, Peace Corps “Honoring Peace Corps Week in the 21st Century” National Press Club, Washington, D.C. AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY February 27, 2014 I’m honored to join you all today in celebrating Peace Corps Week, which commemorates the anniversary of our founding. Each year, during this week, the Peace Corps community comes together across the nation, and around the world, to renew our commitment to service. It’s great to be here at the National Press Club. Let me tell you what the press had to say about Peace Corps in our early days. In 1961, TIME magazine described the first groups of Volunteers in this way: “Peace Corps Volunteers are patriotic and adventuresome….with the patience of Job, the perseverance of a Saint, and the digestive system of an Ostrich.” Personally, I’m not quite sure what it means to have . . .

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A Writer Writes: My Philomena Story

A Writer Writes My Philomena by Tony Gambino (Zaire 1979-82) [Tony Gambino taught  TEFL for one year in a rural high school and then spent two years teaching at the branch of the Zairian National University in Kisangani. In 2001 he returned to the Congo as the Mission Director for USAID. He is sure that he is one of a very small number of RPCVs who returned to serve as USAID Mission Director in their country of service. (Many RPCVs have become USAID Mission Directors, but didn’t do so in their country of service.) Today he is a consultant working on international issues and lives in the Washington, D.C., area. This essay by Tony appeared on February 25, 2014 on the website Slate. It is republished by Tony’s permission. It is the story of one son’s search for his biological mother.] Tony and his biological mother, Dorothy The story of Philomena Lee and . . .

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Review 85 Days in Cuba by Branon Valentine (Jamaica 2000-04 & Panama 2006-09)

85 Days in Cuba: A True Story about Friendship and Struggle Brandon Valentine (Jamaica 2000–04, Panamá 2006–09) iUniverse $17.96 (paperback); $3.99 (Kindle) 264 pages 2006 Reviewed by Bob Arias (Colombia 1964-66) I was asked to read this book by the author in 2009 . . . and I did not. Bummer, the message was clear then as it is now! Friendship and loyalty to those around you are essential to who we are . . . as Brandon tells us in his “trip” to the island nation of Cuba . . . or was this trip just to be with his best friend, Carlos and his family in Cuba? Quien sabe! Brandon had spent three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Jamaica from 2000 to 2004 in a very poor section of Kingston teaching . . . and his neighbor was Carlos from Cuba. (An interesting note, Walt and Linda are Brandon’s parents, and they were Volunteers . . .

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Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) Appearing at the Berkshire Festival of Woman Writers

Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) will be appearing at the Berkshire Festival of Woman Writers in a panel discussion entitled Balancing the Personal and the Political with writers Carol Ascher and Laurie Lisle, taking place on Thursday, March 6, 2014 at the Kirpalu Center for Yoga and Health, Route 183, Lenox, MA, 7PM. Seating is limited, pre-registration required.  Please call 866-200-5203

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Peace Corps Week Celebrates Volunteers' Contributions at Home and Abroad for Peace Corps' 53rd Anniversary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Press Office, 202.692.2230 Peace Corps Week Celebrates Volunteers’ Contributions at Home and Abroad for Peace Corps’ 53rd Anniversary WASHINGTON, D.C., February 24, 2014 – Ahead of the Peace Corps’ 53rd anniversary on March 1, the agency today kicks off Peace Corps Week to celebrate the contributions of the Peace Corps community both at home and abroad and highlight the importance of service in the 21st century. Through Saturday, March 1, Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet and current and returned Peace Corps volunteers will participate in recruitment events, service projects and networking activities taking place across the country. “Peace Corps Week is about sharing the volunteer experience and the incredible cultural exchange that results from Peace Corps service,” Hessler-Radelet said. “I encourage both current and returned volunteers to participate in Peace Corps Week to share the world with their local communities and bring Peace Corps service to life.” Hessler-Radelet will participate . . .

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Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet To Speak at National Press Club

[If you are in the D.C. Area email the press office at the Peace Corps and tell them you are covering the event for our website. Take photos.] FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 Peace Corps Acting Director to Speak at the National Press Club on Peace Corps in the 21st Century Remarks Also Commemorate Peace Corps Week and the Agency’s 53rd Anniversary WASHINGTON, D.C. – Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet will deliver remarks at the National Press Club on the Peace Corps in the 21st century on Thursday, February 27 at 1:30 pm. Hessler-Radelet will discuss how Peace Corps reforms and policies are bridging its founding ideals with innovative solutions to the most pressing modern challenges. Peace Corps volunteers work toward sustainable change in the farthest corners of the world and return home with cross-cultural, leadership and language skills that strengthen international ties and increase our country’s . . .

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Fran Hopkins Irwin and Will Irwin publish The Early Years of Peace Corps in Afghanistan with Peace Corps Writers

This month Frances Hopkins Irwin (Afghanistan 1964–67) and Will A. Irwin (Afghanistan 1966–67) published The Early Years of Peace Corps in Afghanistan: A Promising Time with Peace Corps Writers. Here’s what they say about their book: The Peace Corps in Afghanistan The first four years of Peace Corps in Afghanistan was a promising time. Nine Volunteers, perhaps the smallest Peace Corps program around the world, arrived in 1962. They were greeted with skepticism and all placed in Kabul. What skills could they contribute? Wouldn’t their presence cause trouble in this country bordering the Soviet Union? The Early Years tells how within a year the five teachers, three nurses, and a mechanic had demonstrated their skills, how they and the following Volunteers connected with the Afghan community through jazz, folk music, and basketball and used sawdust stoves to avoid paying for oil. By 1966, over 200 Peace Corps Volunteers were serving . . .

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Peace Corps Ukraine Volunteers Evacuated Safely

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 24, 2014 – The Peace Corps today announced that all Peace Corps Ukraine volunteers are safe and accounted for, and have been successfully evacuated out of the country.  The agency will continue to assess the safety and security climate in Ukraine.  And while the Peace Corps hopes volunteers can return, the safety and security of its volunteers are the agency’s top priority. Over 200 Peace Corps Ukraine volunteers were working in the areas of education and youth and community development.  Volunteers will participate in a transition conference this week.  Since the program was established in 1992, over 2,740 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Ukraine.

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Talking With Frances Stone (Philippines 1971-73) author of Through the Eyes of My Children

Frances, you were part of the short-lived Peace Corps experiment to recruit families to be Peace Corps Volunteers. When you joined how big was your family? My husband Paul and I had four children in 1971. Daniel had just turned 11. Our daughter Nancy was 8; Peter turned 6 right after we were in, and Matthew turned 3 that August. . With a large family, why did you join? We happened to be in between jobs deciding what we should do next when we found out about the Peace Corps taking families. The Peace Corps was  something we were always interested in and decide why not.  It sounded like the perfect thing for us at the time and we felt up to the challenge of contributing in this manner. We also felt it would be a wonderful educational experience for our family. . Where were you sent as Volunteer? We . . .

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